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The Story of the Holly Sprig
by
Arthur Upson


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"I'd be the shiniest green,"
Wished once a sprig of holly,
"That e'er at Yule was seen,
And deck some banquet jolly!"

"I'd be the cheeriest red,"
Wished once the holly-berry,
"That e'er at board rich spread
Helped make the feasters merry!"

The life within them heard
Down dark and silent courses,
For each wish is a word
To those fair-hidden sources.

All Summer in the wood
While they were riper growing,
The deep roots understood,
And helped without their knowing.

In a little market stall
At Yule the sprig lay waiting,
For fine folk one and all
Passed by that open grating.

The Eve of Christmas Day
It had been passed by many,
When one turned not away
And bought it for a penny.

Hers was a home of care
Which not a wreath made jolly;
The only Christmas there
Was that sweet sprig of holly.

"Oh, this is better far
Than banquet!" thought the berry;
The leaves glowed like a star
And made the cottage merry! 


This poem is in the public domain.

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Arthur Upson (1877-1908) was a poet and playwright whose work often focused on the beauty of nature. Born in New York, he moved with his family to Minnesota as a teenager and lived there for the remainder of his life. Poor health prevented Arthur from completing requirements for a degree at the University of Minnesota; he eventually received one on the basis of his literary achievements and lectured at the university until his premature death by drowning. Many believe Arthur would have grown into one of America’s most significant poets.


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